Female Intern Attacked and Killed By Lion at 'Cat Haven'

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A 26-year-old female volunteer-intern for Cat Haven in Fresno County, Calif., was killed on Wednesday after getting mauled by a lion.

Cat Haven, a 100-acre facility near Kings Canyon National Park, is an exotic animal zoo and home to numerous species of big cats such as tigers, leopards, jaguars and lions. The founder and executive director of the facility, Dale Anderson, read a short statement in tears today about the intern's death.

The only detail Anderson provided was that the woman was attacked and killed when she entered the lion’s enclosure, but he did not comment on anything else.

So far, authorities have been unable to determine why the intern was in the enclosure today. Cat Haven is closed on Wednesdays, and there was only one other employee at the zoo during the incident.

The lion that died was a 4-year-old male African lion named Couscous, and he had been at the facility since he was a cub according to Tayna Osegueda, a spokeswoman for Project Survival, which is the nonprofit in charge of the facility.

The zoo is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has not had any violations during inspections during the past few years.

"She should have never been in the enclosure with him," said Nicole Paquette, vice president of the Human Society of the United States. "These are big cats that are extremely dangerous, and they placed a volunteer in the actual cage with a wild animal. That should have never happened."

Source: ABC News